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The Greatest Story Ever Told



We believe the Bible is the greatest story ever told.

But studying the scriptures can often feel like getting lost in a maze. What does all of it mean? How do all of these unique books and stories connect?

This week we are joined by our good friend Dr. Mark Yarbrough, President of Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Yarbrough brings us on a journey from Genesis to Revelation and shows us how the narrative of the scriptures is one cohesive and united story of God’s redemptive work.

Key Takeaway

You don't have to get lost when trying to read the Bible. The Story of Scripture is embedded in the structure of the Bible. Remembering 5-12-5-5-12-4-1-21-1 is a simple way to help you see the order of God's redemptive plan from beginning to end.


1) Know the structure of our English Bible

2) Appreciate the Bible's Master Narrative

Memorize (with the clap for a beat)


Each number represents how many books are found in a certain category.

Old Testament- 39 books total (5-12-5-5-12)

5 books- Pentateuch, Torah, Books of Moses

12 books- Theological History

5 books- Poetry

5 books- Major Prophets

12 books- Minor Prophets

*You can take the books of Poetry and all the prophets and drop them into the History section. That's where they fall chronologically.*

New Testament- 27 books total (4-1-21-1)

4 books- Gospels

1 book- Theological History

21 books- Letters, Epistles

1 book- Prophecy

1 God, 1 Savior, 1 Story from the beginning to the end.

The Story itself is embedded in the structure of the Bible.

1) Creation

  • Genesis 1:1, God speaks and everything is created. God calls it good.
  • Imago Dei- male and female made in His Image and put in charge. God calls it very good.
  • Genesis 2- goes back and takes a closer look at the creation of humanity. They're told not to eat of the Tree of Good and Evil.

2) The Problem

  • Genesis 3- a talking serpent twists the Truth. Adam and Eve trust the words of the serpent rather than God. He has a direct statement for the serpent, "One day someone will come through the line of woman that will crush your head." The enemy will be dealt with once and for all. Adam and Eve have to leave the garden. Where there is sin, there is death.
  • Genesis 4- Cain kills Abel. Why? It's a microcosm of what God said would happen.
  • Genesis 5- Genealogy of death, they lived and they died, repeat. What God said has come true.

3) The Solution: Covenant God

  • 2 different kinds of Covenant
    • Unconditional, Covenant of Promise- nothing can stop it, no strings attached (Example: Love of parent to child)
    • Conditional Covenant- strings attached (example: Parents negotiating the keys of the car for the child, there are rules)
  • Genesis 12:1-3 introduces the Abrahamic Covenant, promising a people (nation), land, and blessing. It's unconditional.
  • Exodus-Deuteronomy spells out the Mosaic Covenant, which is conditional. Basically, if you follow, I'll bless you in the land and if you don't, you're going to suffer the consequences.
  • Joshua is all about conquering to get into the land promised.

4) Covenant King

  • 1 & 2 Samuel introduces David, a deeply flawed man, but called a man after God's own heart because even in his worst sin, he was contrite and repentant.
  • The Davidic Covenant, an unconditional covenant, is a promise that through David's line will come a King from on High, the Messiah, the Christ, that will once and for all rule righteously.

5) Covenant Worship

  • The books of poetry that speaks of how God longs for His people. To have a vertical relationship with God means to make a difference in our horizontal relationships.

6) Covenant Consequences

  • The nation doesn't follow the Mosaic Law. All the prophets cry out "repent!" not just from sin, but from not following the law. Repentance never comes, so judgement does. The kingdoms split and many terrible kings follow. The northern kingdom falls to the Assyrians in 722 BC. The southern kingdom falls to the Babylonians in 586 BC. They suffer great judgement, but God is always true to His word and keeps His covenants.

7) Covenant Love

  • The New Covenant is given. It will bring about the true forgiveness of sin. The promises made to Abraham, through the Mosaic Law, and David will come to fruition in this coming Messiah. The Old Testament wraps up looking forward.

Intertestamental Period- God is not silent. He is moving kings and kingdoms.

8) The King Has Come

  • Gospels- the life, ministry, death, conquering the grave, ascending
  • When we die, our souls go to be with the Lord and our body stays here, but when He who created everything says it's time to return, Jesus come back. Our soul is united with our glorified body that will lead us to something incredible.

9) All The King's Men

  • Acts, the Gospel part 2. All of the disciples proclaim Jesus's words.
  • The Spirit comes, the Church is established, and we are called to represent Him to those who do not know Him.

10) Living For The King

  • Community Conviction, Orthodoxy- we've always believed this at all places, at all times, from the beginning
    • Scripture is the Word of God, 2 Tim 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21
    • Trinity- Father, Son, Spirit, Matt 28:19, 1 Cor 12:4-6, 2 Cor 13:14
    • Jesus is God in flesh, Col 2:9-10, 2 Cor 5:21
    • Humanity is sinful & deserves death, Romans 3: 10-19, 1 Tim 5:6
    • Atonement, the Cross of Jesus, made a way through the problem once and for all, 1 Cor 15:1-3
    • Salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ, Eph 2:8-9
    • Return of Christ, Romans 8:19-23
  • Characteristics of a committed Christ Follower, Orthopraxy
    • Supreme love for Jesus
    • Regular study of God's Word
    • Renunciation of oneself as one's priority
    • A life of submission to the Cross
    • Allegiance to Christ's compelling leadership
    • Recognition of God's ownership of one's possessions
    • Reflection of Christ's love towards others

11) The King Is Coming

  • Prophecy, Revelation
    • It presents in colorful language and imagery the ending...
      • Where God defeats the powers of evil
      • Reverses the curse of sin
      • Fulfills his Covenants and restores His Creation
      • Lives among His people forever

It starts and ends in a garden. There's so many parallels between Genesis and Revelation.

Lap 1 of the Messiah- He came to do what we needed. He dealt with sin once and for all. Be His witnesses! You weren't just saved from something, you were saved for something.

Lap 2 of the Messiah- He is coming back!


"The story itself is embedded in the Scripture...5-12-5-5-12-4-1-21-1. It is the greatest story ever told."

Dr. Mark Yarbrough

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Message Topics

Scripture References

  • Romans 8:19-23
  • Genesis 1:1
  • Genesis 12:1-3
  • 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 2 Peter 1:21
  • Matthew 28:19
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
  • 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • Colossians 2:9-10
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Romans 3:10-19
  • 1 Timothy 5:6
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
  • Ephesians 2:8-9
Dr. Mark Yarbrough Dr. Mark Yarbrough is the president of Dallas Theological Seminary. He has served in various positions during his tenure at DTS: Research Assistant to the President, Executive Director of Information Technology, Associate Dean for External Education, Vice President for Communications, Academic Dean, and Vice President of Academic Affairs.